Meet Sogol Javan, our newest team member!
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
2d ago
This week will go down in Financial Zen history as one of the 3 most important ones to date. This week is just as pivotal as the week I started as a Financial Advisor and the week I launched Financial Zen. This is the week Sogol joined our team.  Mark Zuckerberg must have felt this way when Sheryl Sandberg came aboard. Sogol didn’t hitch her wagon to our trailer just for her new role as an Associate Financial Planner.  She came aboard because she gets it. She understands what we’re building and wants to be part – a BIG part – of it. She has ambition that is only matched by my own. Wh ..read more
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Why Your 401k Is Probably Invested Wrong
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
1w ago
I’ve looked under the hood of hundreds (maybe thousands?) of 401k’s. So I bet I already know how your 401k is invested.  Here’s how to fix it.  I’ll wager your 401k is invested in a target date fund.   Those are the mutual funds where you pick your retirement year and just load up the fund. I don’t HATE these funds, but you can do better.  On the upside, target date funds kinda sorta get you invested correctly. Plus, “set it and forget” is better than not setting it and forgetting it. On the downside:  1. MOST TARGET DATE FUNDS ARE EXPENSIVE – i.e. high expense r ..read more
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Point B Is The Easy Part
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
1w ago
I don’t need help envisioning a 6-pack. I’ve been there before, so how hard could it be to get there again? (At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.) A 6-pack is Point B. We don’t need much motivation to envision the future we want.  Point B is the easy part.  The last 9 months, I’ve been a victim of my own success.  We’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time – or the mental bandwidth – to work out consistently. In fact, other than COVID this is the least consistent my workouts have ever been. But I’d look in the mirror and tell myself it’s not so bad. Right on the other ..read more
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#EarnedIt Friday – Always departing. Never arriving.
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
2w ago
Financial Zen’s 8th birthday was this week. We’ve come so far and have soooo far to go. Always departing. Never arriving. That can mean either “success purgatory” OR an opportunity to celebrate past wins and look forward to bigger ones yet to come. The frame matters. I choose the latter.  The post #EarnedIt Friday – Always departing. Never arriving. appeared first on Financial Zen ..read more
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Financial Zen Fees vs. Old School Financial Advisors
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
2w ago
7 years ago, an FZ Member asked “So what do you think about Betterment?”  “I LOVE the robo-advisors! They give average investors the ability to invest correctly, but at a fraction of the cost of traditional financial advisors AND with a small minimum account size, it’s accessible to almost everyone.” “If it’s so great, how come you’re not set up that way?” At that point, Financial Zen was still charging a 1.5% AUM fee.  I fumbled over some sort of answer to save face, but the real answer was simply inertia.   That’s just how 98% of financial advisors charge their fees and h ..read more
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Financial Zen turns 8 years old today!  They ...
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
2w ago
Financial Zen turns 8 years old today!  They say that every 7-8 years, we go through a major life change, evolving into a new identity and shedding our soul’s old skin.  And sure – while correlation is not causation – 8 years before starting Financial Zen, I started my financial planning practice at 31. 8 years before THAT I quit my high-paying investment banking job to DJ of all things. And when I zoom out over the trajectory of my career, Financial Zen is all about one thing…. like literally that ONE THING. Like Curly sticking up his index in City Slickers, I was always in search o ..read more
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How Dusty Is Your Estate Plan?
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
2w ago
If you’re reading this, you’re likely financially adulting which includes having your estate plan in place. Good on you! ….but, when was the last time you looked at it? Financial Zen recently partnered with Wealth .com which is estate planning fintech. It allows our Financial Zen Members to do all the important things like creating, amending and executing their estate plan FOR FREE! (Actually, it’s more like on Financial Zen’s dime since we (happily) pay quite a bit for the subscription.) But it also makes it super easy to complete that totally ambiguous and unhelpful recommendation to “review ..read more
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As Seen in The SF Chronicle
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
2w ago
Yours truly was quoted in the Chronicle over the weekend – Does your 3% mortgage make you ‘richer’ in California — and should you pay it down? Here’s the good stuff:  Even if you are technically saving more money, a home is an expense rather than an investment for many people, says Rick Valenzi, certified financial planner and founder of Financial Zen in San Francisco. “You can’t buy groceries or take vacations with your home equity,” he said. “So home expenses — while often rationalized as investments by homebuyers — often end up being a consumption expense.” Valenzi said the tax de ..read more
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The Kindest Thing Anyone’s Ever Done For Me
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
3w ago
“What’s the kindest thing anyone’s ever done for you?”  I got that during Q&A interviewing a candidate for our Associate Financial Planner. I had never been asked that before, but they say your first answer is usually the right answer.  And after a couple of months of meditating on it, I’d have to agree.  Here was my reply. Newly minted advisors at big brokerage firms are fresh meat for senior advisors.  They swarm the newbies hoping to recruit cheap labor. I knew I wanted to start my own thing, so hitching my trailer to someone else was never a consideration, except ..read more
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Storms ahead. Should You Wait To Invest?
Financial Zen Blog
by Rick
3w ago
The Dow dropped 400 points today. The S&P is down 3% so far this quarter. And we’re probably headed into some extended turbulence. So should you wait to invest? (Or even take money off the table?)  ABSOLUTELY NOT! Why? 3 Reasons 1. THE ONLY CERTAINTY IS UNCERTAINTY The smartest people in the room have been calling for a recession for over 3 years.  Meanwhile, the market’s up 18%, not to mention recovering over 35% since the 2022 lows. The first step in making money investing is to admit we have no idea what will happen next. Except… 2. MR. MARKET WAS BORN TO RUN! Over a long enou ..read more
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